Messiah and Sacrifices
----- Original Message -----
I do not understand why the Jews have not accepted Jesus Christ as the messiah?
I do not understand why the Jews have abandoned sacrifices?
Could you please provide me with some guidance on these 2 questions?
Perhaps some simple literature?!?!?
The second question is by far the easiest to answer, so I'll tackle it first: Jews do not practice sacrifices because the Scriptures require that sacrifices be offered only in the Temple in Jerusalem, which was destroyed in the year 70 CE. According to Yeshua and the Prophets, the Temple will be rebuilt and the sacrifices will be resumed shortly before Messiah’s return in glory. Until the Holy Mountain can be cleansed from the “Abomination of Desolation” (The Dome of the Rock, the neighboring Al-Aqsa mosque, and the new underground mosque that are now desecrating Temple Mount) and the Temple can be rebuilt, the Jewish people rely on prayer as an acceptable substitute for sacrifice.
O LORD, I call upon You; hasten to me! Give ear to my voice when I call to You! May my prayer be counted as incense before You; The lifting up of my hands as the evening offering. (Psalms 141:1-4)
urge you, brethren, by the mercies of
Let not the
foreigner [Gentile] who has joined himself to the LORD say, “The LORD will
surely separate me from His people.” Nor let the eunuch say, “Behold, I am
a dry tree.” For thus says the LORD, “To the eunuchs who keep My sabbaths,
And choose what pleases Me, And hold fast My covenant, To them I will give
in My house and within My walls a memorial, And a name better than that of
sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name which will not be
cut off. Also the foreigners [Gentiles] who join themselves to the LORD,
To minister to Him, and to love the name of the LORD, To be His servants,
every one who keeps from profaning the sabbath And holds fast My covenant;
Even those I will bring to My holy mountain And
make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their
sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; For My house will be called a
house of prayer for all the peoples.” The Lord
As far as the first question (“I do not understand why the Jews have not accepted Jesus Christ as the messiah?”) is concerned, I don't believe that the question is actually phrased correctly. It assumes that Jews as a whole have rejected the Messiah, which I don’t feel is an accurate assumption.
In fact, I will go so far as to suggest that the percentage of Jews who have accepted the Messiah since His resurrection is probably very close to the percentage of non-Jews (Gentiles) who have accepted the Messiah since His resurrection. I feel that the real problem and source of confusion here is in the way the statistics are collected and measured.
First of all, it is my personal opinion that it is incorrect to assume that Yeshua was rejected by the Jews as their Messiah at the time of His resurrection. I don’t feel that assumption can be supported by history. In fact, I believe it can be successfully demonstrated that within not many years after the resurrection perhaps as many as 30 to 40 percent of the entire population of Jerusalem, including a large number of the kohanim [priests], believed that Yeshua was their Messiah immediately following His resurrection.
“The word of
they heard it, glorified
The Greek word translated “thousands” in Acts 21:20 is “myriads,” which is actually the word for “ten thousand,” not “thousand,” and is the largest number in their vocabulary at that time. By most estimates I have seen, the population of Jerusalem at this time was about a hundred thousand. One or two myriads would not be referred to as “how many myriads,” but three or four myriads (or more) might be, and three or four myriads would represent between 30 and 40 percent of the population of Jerusalem at the time. I can assure you, that is a far higher percentage of Believers than can be found in any city in the United States today! In fact, there have been enough present-day Jewish rabbis who have believed in Yeshua that several books have been written about them. [For more on this subject, please see http://www.familybible.org/FAQ/jewish.htm]
It must also be understood that until Emperor Constantine declared his pagan form of “Christianity” to be the official religion of the Roman Empire in the early part of the fourth century (about 311), the Body of Messiah was almost entirely Jewish. [See http://www.familybible.org/Teaching/Messianic/church.htm.]
With that single decree, the entire Gentile population of the whole Roman Empire instantly became counted as “Christian”[NOTE] regardless of their true beliefs. Then at the Council of Nicea in the year 325, Constantine issued decrees which essentially forced Jewish believers to totally abandon all of their Jewish heritage and identity. And in 365 the Synod of Laodicea issued additional decrees which defined virtually everything Jewish as “heresy,” expelling from the “church” any person who could be identified as Jewish.
Thus, the true Body of Messiah went from being almost entirely Jewish in 311 to being almost an entirely pagan Gentile “church” by 365, a period of only 54 years. [See http://www.familybible.org/Articles/ Jewish-ChristianRelations/Decrees.htm] Ever since that time, until the Messianic Jewish Revival began in the mid-1960s, whenever a Jewish person has come to faith in Messiah he/she was no longer considered to be a Jew, but was counted as a Gentile Christian by both the “church” and by the Jewish community. To both the “church” and the “synagogue,” he/she had “converted” from Judaism to Christianity.
Then there is the entire semantic-twisting issue of “who is a Jew?” engaged in by both Jews and non-Jews. According the science of genetics, a biological Jew is any person who is a physical descendant of Avraham, Yitzhak, and Ya`akov [Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob]. According to Israel’s Law of Return (by which is determined an individual’s right to be considered a Jew for purposes of returning to live in Israel as a citizen), a Jew is “any person whose mother was a Jew and who has not converted to another religion” (such as Christianity). Thus, according to Judaism, any person who has ever accepted Yeshua as the Messiah is, by definition, no longer a Jew. So you can see by this way of thinking it is literally impossible for a Jew to accept Yeshua as Messiah. Anyone who does so is no longer counted in the “Jewish” column. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the fallacy of this line of reasoning which, if applied equally to all ethnic groups and cultural identities, would create an entirely new ethnic group called “Christian.” If a Jew who believes in Yeshua as Messiah is not longer a Jew but “Christian,” then any Chinese person who believes in Yeshua as Messiah is not longer Chinese but “Christian”; any Mexican person who believes in Yeshua as Messiah is not longer Mexican but “Christian”; any Asian person who believes in Yeshua as Messiah is not longer Asian but “Christian”; any French person who believes in Yeshua as Messiah is not longer French but “Christian.” Totally absurd!!!
I believe a much more accurately-phrased question would be, “Why is it so difficult for a Jewish person to come to faith in Messiah?” But that question is almost as difficult to answer, again because of common definitions and assumptions. The most simplistic answer is that Jews do not accept Yeshua as the Messiah because “the Church” (a) does not present the Jews with a Jewish Messiah, and (b) “the Church” has systematically done everything humanly possible to prevent the Jews from coming to saving faith in Messiah for 1,700 years.
A majority of non-Jewish “Christians” who attempt to
bring the Gospel to a Jewish person simply approach the issue entirely
wrong. Instead of approaching the Jewish person with a heart of love and
with a Messiah who is thoroughly Jewish (as is the historical Yeshua of
Nazareth), they approach in a spirit of confrontation with a caricature
Messiah called “Jesus Christ” who does not at all resemble the historical
Yeshua. One such approach consists of something like: “Unless you accept
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living
To most Jews who have not been exposed to the true Gospel, “Jesus Christ” is the “false Gentile god” — the illegitimate son of a Jewish harlot and a Roman soldier — in whose name they have been persecuted nearly to extinction for the past 1,700 years. “Jesus Christ” is the name under which the Roman Catholic Crusaders raped and pillaged their way across Israel from the 11th through the 13th centuries. “Jesus Christ” is the name under which both the Spanish Inquisition and the Nazi Final Solution were conducted. To most Jews, asking them to accept this “Jesus” as their Messiah is about the same as asking a black person living in Alabama in 1930 to accept the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan as his messiah. [Click for more information on atrocities committed against Jews by "the church.”]
Additionally, the theological position of most
Christian denominations is that since “the Jews rejected their Messiah”
(which has been demonstrated above to be a false assumption to begin
The question that must be answered here is how
2Sa 23:5 -
Jer 32:40 -
Jer 50:5 -
Eze 37:26 -
How can any Jew who deeply loves the
The form of “Christianity” that most Gentile Christians
offer to Jewish people is simply not at all attractive to them, and the
form of “Jesus” that most Gentile Christians offer to Jewish people is
simply not one that can possibly be the Jewish Messiah. How can a Jewish
Messiah do away with
You asked me to recommend some literature. I strongly suggest that you get a copy of Take Hold: Embracing Our Divine Inheritance with Israel by Ariel and D'vorah Berkowitz. Though we don't currently offer it on our website, it is available from First Fruits of Zion for $17.97. Click on the title above and then search for item FFOZ03.
The following books will also provide you with valuable insight: The Messianic Jewish Manifesto by David Stern provides a challenge to both Jews who honor Yeshua (Jesus) as Israel's Messiah and others involved with the Movement to catch the vision for its destiny, which is to heal the split between the Church and the Jewish people. Simultaneously 100% Messianic and 100% Jewish, we reject the "either-or" demanded by many Christians and Jews. Messianic Judaism is right, a radical solution, an idea whose time has come. A call to action for Messianic Jews and a source of information for others whether in favor, opposed, or just curious.
Jesus the Jewish Theologian by Brad Young. Prophet, madman, Messiah—Jesus was all these things to the people around him. But most importantly, he was a Jew, just like them. Drawing insights and facts from first-century Jewish literature, archaeology, and tradition, Young shows you why understanding Jesus' Jewishness is crucial for interpreting the New Testament and for understanding the nature of our Christian faith. 320 pages, softcover from Hendrickson.
Paul the Jewish Theologian by Brad Young reveals Rav Sha'ul of Tarsus [Paul the Apostle] as a man who, though rejected in the synagogue, never truly left Judaism. Young disagrees with long-held notions that Hellenism was the context which most influenced Sha'ul’s communication of the Gospel. Only in rightly aligning Sha'ul as rooted in his Jewishness and training as a Pharisee can he be correctly interpreted. Young asserts that Sha'ul’s view of the Torah was always positive, and separates Yeshua’s mission among the Jews from Sha'ul’s call to the Gentiles.
I hope these comments help.
Note: The reason that I have placed the word “Christian” in quotes is to emphasize the point that not everybody or everything that is called “Christian” actually is. To many people throughout the world, any person who lives in one of the “Western World” countries and who cannot be clearly identified as Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, or one of a few other religions, is by default considered “Christian.” Likewise, anybody who recognizes Christmas and Easter as holidays, even as secular holidays, is considered “Christian.” And particularly, anybody who is a member of any organized “church” or pseudo-Christian cult is considered “Christian,” regardless of whether or not they have been truly “born again.” The word “church” appears in quotes for the same reason. [RETURN]
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*Ari Levitt is the shem kodesh of Messianic Pastor Dr. Rickard (Ari) Levitt-Sawyer. As the free expression of my religious beliefs, the content of this website is protected under the provisions of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Except where otherwise specifically indicated, the opinions expressed on this website are my own, are sometimes highly speculative in nature and subject to differing interpretations, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of any other organization or individual. If you disagree with my opinions, please CLICK HERE before contacting me.